Need New website? Should I redesign my current website?
By Lynda Baxter
The short answer is likely, yes.. to either, and you have options.
I spoke to an artist last week who mentioned it seemed every five years was good timing, for him, for a website redesign.
His reason wasn’t just because it was time for a change, or the photos on his website no longer represented his current working style, but more importantly, a need to keep up with changing technology.
Even if your website was done early 2015, it’s more than likely not a responsive website. That means, when you view it on your phone or tablet, it’s just a little mini version of your website. To view it, you need to do a lot of scrolling and ‘making it bigger’ to navigate the site. Once you click on the gallery, you have to expand the page and scroll all over again to see that page, and I will not say correctly, because it’s certainly not going to show correctly. Pretty soon, sites that are not mobile friendly will not come up in searches done on Google. This is reason enough to upgrade your website to work with the latest technology, the easier you make it for the client, the more likely they will spend time on your website.
Some artists had their first sites built by their kids who, compared to them, were techno geniuses! They might have gone that route because they wanted to give them a chance, to see how they did, encouraging them in many ways. That’s all good, but is it the right thing to do for your art?
If the site doesn’t have a good solid design that will enhance your art, and isn’t developed properly so it will do well in search engines, you are doing yourself more harm than good.
Long ago, when companies started building websites, they were done in a very small resolution. The standards were 600 x 800 and things have changed. Those were the days you had to have your programmer or developer maintain your website on your behalf. You not only had to pay to have your website designed, you had to pay them to perform updates on your website. The worst part of all, they were busy, and it took days or even weeks to get your new art on the website, or the new text to announce your upcoming show.
There was also a good chance your website wasn’t marketed properly, because most companies didn’t understand the importance of search engine optimization (SEO), which is an integral part of creating a successful on-line presence for your business. Sadly, if they built your site in a frameset, it did not work properly when people did find your website pages on the search engines. If your site is still in this league, it’s time for a redesign.
As time moved on, sites were built in a larger resolution. Progress! Design companies were a dime a dozen. Some even did search engine marketing. Most stopped building websites in framesets.
At this point most people decided to do a redesign of their website. They looked so much better in a larger resolution. As with any technology, this too became outdated and with WordPress websites gaining popularity, you could maintain your own website. You could have a company custom design your website, or you could do it yourself using a template website. Both options affordable, both options good.
Some artists using a packaged template website decided, at some point, to hire a professional to create a custom design for them. And why not? If you can have a custom website designed to better display your art, and make navigation easier for the viewer, it’s just the right thing to do. They could still maintain their own text and image updates.
Now, we have even newer technology. It’s an effort, even for designers and Internet marketing companies, to keep up with all the changes facing us today.
Mobile websites are now a must.
This is reason enough to re-design your website, or at least, have a qualified designer take your existing website and create a mobile site for you where possible. You do not have to maintain and update two websites. When you update your desktop version, the changes automatically filter down to your mobile site. Best of all, your viewers see your site properly. Your site now has proper navigation for the mobile user and makes the user experience an adventure versus a navigational nightmare.
We want to make sure once a viewer is on your site, navigating around it on their phone isn’t the reason why they are going to leave it.
Look for website companies that have a good solid portfolio. Check out those sites on your phone to make sure they are responsive on mobile devices. Read about them on their website and look for testimonials. Call their clients and see if they had a good experience working with them. Even if you’ve done what you feel are all the right things like; using a professional website design company with a good reputation, that focuses on artists websites, does SEO marketing and has shown you how to manage the website yourself, you might still feel some discouragement. Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean you’re going to sell your art from it.
You must not let it go stagnant. Once it’s done, continue to build on it. Add new art on a regular basis and consider adding a blog. When you blog, you are creating much needed content on a very graphic art site. Google will keep coming back to your site to pick up your newly published articles.
Consider trying social media. Adding a link from your website to your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter or Instagram accounts, is going to help you grow your unique audiences.
A fresh new website design is as important as gallery representation, when a viewer finds your website they should be able to come away with a feeling of who you are as an artist, what type of art you specialize in, and how they can either buy it or see more of it in person. Is your on-line brand consistent with who you are and the work you are making right now? If the answer is no, we can help.